El Nino, which leads to drought and prolonged dry periods in Asia, will peak between November 2023 and January 2024 with the possibility of the warm ocean surface weather event continuing till April-June 2024, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) of the US has said.

“The majority of models indicate El Niño will persist through April-June 2024 and then transition to ENSO-neutral,” the CPC, a unit of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in its latest status report. 

It pegs a 62 per cent chance for the weather event to last until June 2024. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) Outlook is at El Niño, having met all the four criteria.

Four criteria

These criteria are sea surface temperatures (SSTs)in the Nino region of the Pacific Ocean being 0.8 °C warmer than average, trade winds weaker than average in the western or central equatorial Pacific Ocean during any three of the last four months, the three-month average Southern Oscillation Index being –7 or lower and a majority of surveyed climate models showing sustained warming to at least 0.8 °C above average in the Nino regions of the Pacific until the end of the year.

The prediction should be of concern to India, in particular, as the going could be tough for the rabi crops apart from the kharif crops production being already affected. 

El Nino prolonging until June 2024 will also mean that pre-monsoon rainfall will likely be impacted. 

“Climate model outlooks suggest that El Niño is likely to continue into the early southern hemisphere autumn 2024. The ENSO Outlook will remain at El Niño until this event decays, or signs of a possible La Niña appear,” the Australian weather agency said.

India’s woes

The CPC said since mid-July 2023, positive outgoing longwave radiation anomalies have persisted over Indonesia — one reason for India experiencing indifferent weather this year since August.

The US weather agency said over the past four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above average across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, in the western Indian Ocean, and across much of the Atlantic Ocean. 

It said the tropical Pacific atmospheric anomalies are consistent with El Niño and Equatorial SSTs  are above average across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. 

El Nino has resulted in at least 26 per cent of the country reeling under drought so far this year. In particular, September and October have been the hottest months on record globally.

NOAA and EU weather agency Copernicus have said until October, 2023 has been the warmest on record in the world. Both agencies have predicted that this year could turn out to be the warmest ever globally. 

The “warmest” weather is due to the impact of El Nino, which is also seen as a severe event.